Six Ways Your Cats Show Love

Cats are often perceived as independent, unfriendly and reserved. However, if one of these playful little creatures decides to open up to you, you have a world of cuddles, love and trust coming your way. Cats can show affection in a variety of ways, many of them being odd, but are affection nonetheless.

1.Cuddling

Staff Writer Jessica's cat Quasi cuddling with her.
My cat, Quasi, cuddling with me. Photo taken by Jessica Collins.

Many kitties insist on being on top of you, whenever possible. This is for a number of reasons but mainly because it is ingrained into their brains from birth. According to an article by Paige Cerulli, cats learn to cuddle because as kittens, they cuddle with their mothers to establish warmth and comfort.

“Every morning I wake up and I have one cat on one side, one at my feet, and another on my other side,” Clinton Community College student Katee Brothers said. “I never go a night without them cuddling me.” 

This is also a sign your cat trusts you deeply, since cuddling while sleeping allows cats to relax, knowing they are protected from harm with you by their side.

2.Waiting for you while you’re gone

Staff Writer Jessica's cat Prinnie waiting for her after she leaves the shower.
Prinnie waiting for me after I leave the shower. Gif by Jessica Collins. 

While many of us laugh when we see our kitty waiting for us outside the bathroom, there is a real reason for this odd act. Domestic house cats are hunters; however, they are also aware that they can be prey as well. According to an article on meowingtons.com, being prey makes cats feel vulnerable, and given that their owner is their sense of security, it is reasonable that they want to know where you are and when you close a door on them, they may feel less safe than when you were with them. 

“It makes me feel so happy when I come home and my cat, Zuma, cries and greets me at the door,” Brothers said. “It’s like she was waiting for me the whole time.”

3.Kneading

Quasi kneading on my back. Gif by Jessica Collins.

The explanation for kneading, like cuddling, goes back to kittenhood. Kneading is when a cat pushes their paws in and out on a soft object, like a blanket or a person. According to PetMD, when kittens are nursing from their mother they perform this same motion; they associate this act with the comfort nursing brings them. When a cat kneads its owner, they are saying “I love you,” and the more they dig their claws into you, the happier and more loving they are.

4.Showing their belly

Staff Writer Jessica's cat Apollo relaxing and revealing his stomach.
Apollo relaxing and revealing his stomach. Photo by Jessica Collins.

To cats, who are usually always on the lookout for possible threats, showing their belly is a sign of ultimate trust and contentedness. When cats expose their bellies, they are practically exposing all of their vital organs, making them very vulnerable to attack. Therefore, when your little friend rolls over dramatically and hits the floor on their back, it shows that they are comfortable in their surroundings and feel no sort of threat, according to Naomi Millburn’s article on The Nest.

5.Headbutting you

Staff Writer Jessica's cat Prinnie headbutting her.
Prinnie headbutting. Photo by Jessica Collins.

Although a headbutt is usually categorized as violent, one from a little kitten is never the case. A headbutt is when a cat taps their head against someone or an object, and can mean a variety of things. Jane A. Kelly explains that a cat’s head has scent glands which are used to mark territory, including their owners. However, it is not only used for claiming things, but it is also used to show respect and trust, and sometimes even wanting attention.

6.Biting you (lightly)

Staff Writer Jessica's cat Prinnie biting her hair lightly.
Prinnie biting my hair. Gif by Jessica Collins.

Another cat behavior that again seems violent, but is actually a sign of affection and care is biting, specifically biting hair. This stems from cats grooming each other as a sign of love and bonding, also known as allogrooming, according to Susan Paretts of Cuteness. When cats bite you, it is a sign they care and helps them relieve stress themselves. They also might be attracted to your hair products, and feel as if your hair is not hair but a tasty treat instead. To return the favor, so long as it isn’t uncomfortable or damaging, pet your kitty on the head and neck.

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